The ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States
The Economic Community of West African States - ECOWAS is a regional economic union of fifteen countries, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The union was established in 1975 in Lagos to promote economic integration across the region. The goal of ECOWAS is to achieve „collective self-sufficiency“ for its member states by creating a single large trading bloc by building a full economic and trading union.
ECOWAS includes two sub-regional blocs:
- The West African Economic and Monetary Union is an organization of eight, mainly French-speaking, states within the ECOWAS which share a customs union and currency union. Established in 1994 and intended to counterbalance the dominance of English-speaking economies in the bloc (such as Nigeria and Ghana), members of UEMOA are mostly former territories of French West Africa. The currency they all use is the CFA franc, which is pegged to the euro.
- The West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ), established in 2000, comprises six mainly English-speaking countries within ECOWAS which plan to work towards adopting their own common currency, the eco.
- 355 million (2016)
- Abundance of natural resources (oil, gas, agricultural land, food to be processed)
- Attractive consumer market due to high population
- Revival of agriculture & food industry
- Fastly growing population and economic power
- Need for catching up and investment
- Exhibitors profit from massive investments into the consumer industry, the construction of shopping centers and an increasing demand for machinery and equipment
- Biggest market for food products in Africa - still undersupplied